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KINEMATICS AND DYNAMICS OF UNIFORM MOTION

INTRODUCTION
All through this unit we will focus on the physics of motion. As you learn the language,
principles, and laws which describe and explain the motion of objects, your efforts should
centre on internalizing the meaning of the information. Avoid memorizing the information;
and avoid abstracting the information from the physical world which it describes and
explains. Rather, contemplate the information, thinking about its meaning and its
applications.

Kinematics

Kinematics is the science of describing the motion of objects using words, diagrams,
numbers, graphs, and equations. The goal of any study of kinematics is to develop mental
models which serve to describe (and ultimately, explain) how real-world objects move.

Dynamics

In Dynamics, we look at the causes of the motion described in kinematics. In studying


these causes, which we have called forces, we can get a more complete picture of a given
physical situation. Starting with a given set of forces, through dynamics we are able to
describe all resulting motion. Dynamics is thus the basis for the rest of the study of classical
mechanics, and is applied in every branch of physics. Studying Newton's Laws is perhaps
the most important part of classical mechanics. Kinematics, lays the groundwork for
Newton's laws. For the most part, the subject matter studied after Newton's laws simply
applies the laws to a variety of physical situations, and derives further concepts from them.
Newton's laws are the axioms of classical mechanics; brilliant not only in their
applicability, but in their simplicity.

DESCRIBING MOTION WITH WORDS

Scalars and Vectors

The motion of objects can be described by words - words such as distance, displacement,
speed, velocity, and acceleration. These mathematical quantities which are used to describe
the motion of objects can be divided into two categories. The quantities are either a vector
or a scalar.

Reference frame

Establishing a coordinate system to describe motion is crucial. An object can be at rest


(same position as time passes) referred to one system and moving when referred to a
second one. As an example consider a boy sleeping on his mother’s lap: is he moving? Of
course not! But if his mother travels along a river: what would be the answer now?
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The location of an object at any moment is given by its coordinates (position vector) and
these depend on the system too. The path of a moving object (the line formed by the points
it occupies as it moves) also depends on the reference frame.

Distance and Displacement

Distance and displacement are two quantities which may seem to mean the same thing, yet
they have distinctly different meanings and definitions.

• Distance is a scalar quantity which refers to "how much distance an object has
covered" during its motion; it is the length of the path covered.
• Displacement is a vector quantity which refers to "how far out of place an object
is"; it is the object's change in position.

Example

Consider the motion depicted in the diagram below. A physics


teacher walks 4 meters East, 2 meters South, 4 meters West, and
finally 2 meters North.

Even though the physics teacher has walked a total distance of 12 meters, his
displacement is 0 meters. During the course of his motion, he has "covered 12 meters of
ground" (distance = 12 m). Yet, when she is finished walking, she is not "out of place" –
i.e., there is no displacement for her motion (displacement = 0 m). Displacement, being a
vector quantity, must give attention to direction. The 4 meters east is cancelled by the 4
meters west; and the 2 meters south is cancelled by the 2 meters north.

Speed and Velocity

Just as distance and displacement have distinctly different meanings (despite their
similarities), so do speed and velocity.
Speed is a scalar quantity which refers to "how fast an object is moving." A fast-moving
object has a high speed while a slow-moving object has a low speed. An object with no
movement at all has a zero speed.
Velocity is a vector quantity which refers to "the rate at which an object changes its
position." Imagine a person moving rapidly - one step forward and one step back - always
returning to the original starting position. While this might result in a frenzy of activity, it
would also result in a zero velocity. Because the person always returns to the original
position, the motion would never result in a change in position. Since velocity is defined as
the rate at which the position changes, this motion results in zero velocity (but not speed!).

Describing Speed and Velocity

Velocity is a vector quantity. As such, velocity is "direction-aware." When evaluating the


velocity of an object, you must keep track of its direction. It would not be enough to say
that an object has a velocity of 55 km/hr. You must include direction information in order
to fully describe the velocity of the object. For instance, you must describe an object's
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velocity as being 55 km/hr, east. This is one of the essential differences between speed and
velocity. Speed is a scalar and does not keep track of direction; velocity is a vector and is
direction-aware.
The task of describing the direction of the velocity vector is easy! The direction of the
velocity vector is the same as the direction in which an object is moving. It does
not matter whether the object is speeding up or slowing down, if the object is
moving rightwards, then its velocity is described as being rightwards. If an object
is moving downwards, then its velocity is described as being downwards. Thus an
airplane moving towards the west with a speed of 460 km/hr has a velocity of 460
km/hr, west. Note that speed has no direction (it is a scalar) and that velocity is
simply the speed with a direction.

Average Speed and Average Velocity

As an object moves, it often undergoes changes in speed. For example, during an average
trip to school, there are many changes in speed. Rather than the speedometer maintaining a
steady reading, the needle constantly moves up and down to reflect the stopping and
starting and the accelerating and decelerating. At one instant, the car may be moving at 50
km/hr and at another instant, it may be stopped (i.e., 0 km/hr). Yet during the course of the
trip to school the person might average a speed of 25 km/hr.

Average vs. Instantaneous Speed

The speedometer of a car reveals information about the instantaneous speed of your car;
that is, it shows your speed at a particular instant in time.
The instantaneous speed of an object is not to be confused with the average speed. Average
speed is a measure of the distance travelled in a given period of time; it is sometimes
referred to as the distance per time ratio. Suppose that during your trip to school, you
travelled a distance of 5 km and the trip lasted 0.2 hours (12 minutes). The average speed of
your car could be determined as
Ave. Speed = 5 km / 0.2 hr = 25 km / hr
On the average, your car was moving with a speed of 25 kilometres per
hour. During your trip, there may have been times that you were stopped
and other times that your speedometer was reading 50 km / hr; yet on the
average you were moving with a speed of 25 kilometres per hour.
The average speed during the course of a motion is often computed using
the following equation:

Meanwhile, the average velocity is often computed using the equation:


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Instantaneous Speed and Velocity

Since a moving object often changes its speed during its motion, it is common to
distinguish between the average speed (velocity) and the instantaneous speed (velocity).
The distinction is as follows:
Instantaneous Speed / velocity – speed / velocity at any given instant in time. You don’t
have the maths needed for an accurate definition (what is an instant?) but think of it as the
value that average speed / velocity take for a time interval as small as we like (approaching
zero)
Average Speed / velocity - average of all instantaneous speeds / velocities; found simply
by a distance / time ratio or displacement / time ratio.
You might think of the instantaneous speed as the speed which the speedometer reads at
any given instant in time and the average speed as the average of all the speedometer
readings during the course of the trip.

Constant Speed (Uniform Motion)

Moving objects do not always travel with erratic and changing speeds. Occasionally, an
object will move at a steady rate with a constant speed. That is, the object will cover the
same distance every regular interval of time. For instance, a cross-country runner might be
running with a constant speed of 6 m/s in a straight line. If her speed is constant, then the
distance travelled every second is the same. The runner would cover a distance of 6
meters every second. If you measured her position (distance from an arbitrary starting
point) each second, you would notice that her position was changing by 6 meters each
second. This would be in stark contrast to an object which is changing its speed. An object
with a changing speed would be moving a different distance each second. The data tables
below depict objects with constant and changing speeds.

Constant Velocity (Uniform Rectilinear Motion)

An object can move at a constant speed but changing direction. The movement of a boy in a
merry-go-round is a good example. In this case velocity will be changing constantly
despite speed being the same all the time! This is a not a 1-D movement but a movement
in a plane and will be studied elsewhere. If velocity is to be constant then both speed and
direction should not change: we call this kind of motion a Uniform Rectilinear Motion.
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Dynamics of Uniform Rectilinear Motion: Newton's First Law.

The dynamics for a URM is quite simple. Newton's first law of movement (or law of
inertia), was stated previously as:

“An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion


tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same
direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

If we consider that to be at rest is just moving with v = 0 m / s


and that velocity is a vector, so that unchanged direction is
implicit in the term “constant velocity” we can shorten the statement to:

An object will show rectilinear uniform movement unless acted by an unbalanced


force

A New Word for a New Movement: Acceleration

The final mathematical quantity to discuss is acceleration. An often misunderstood


quantity, acceleration has a meaning much different from the meaning sports announcers
and other individuals associate with it. The definition of acceleration is:
Acceleration is a vector quantity which is defined as "the rate at which an object
changes its velocity." An object is accelerating if it is changing its velocity.
Sports announcers will occasionally say that a person is accelerating if he/she
is moving fast. Yet acceleration has nothing to do with going fast. A person
can be moving very fast, and still not be accelerating. Acceleration has to do
with changing how fast an object is moving. If an object is not changing its
velocity, then the object is not accelerating. The data at the right is
representative of an accelerating object – the velocity is changing with respect
to time. In fact, the velocity is changing by a constant amount - 10 m/s - in
each second of time. Whenever an object's velocity is changing, that object is
said to be accelerating; that object has acceleration.

Constant Acceleration

Sometimes an accelerating object will change


its velocity by the same amount each second.
As mentioned before, the data above shows an
object changing its velocity by 10 m/s in each
consecutive second. This is known as a
constant acceleration since the velocity is
changing by the same amount each second.
An object with a constant acceleration
should not be confused with an object with
a constant velocity. Don't be fooled! If an object is changing its velocity – whether by a
constant amount or a varying amount – it is an accelerating object. An object with a
constant velocity is not accelerating. The data tables above depict motions of objects with a
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constant acceleration and with a changing acceleration. Note that each object has a
changing velocity.

Since accelerating objects are constantly changing their velocity, you can say that the
distance travelled divided by the time taken to travel that distance is not a constant value. A
falling object for instance usually accelerates as it falls. If you were to observe the motion
of a free-falling object (free fall motion will be discussed in detail later), you would notice
that the object averages a velocity of 5 m/s in the first second, 15 m/s in the second second,
25 m/s in the third second, 35 m/s in the fourth second, etc. Our free-falling object would
be accelerating at a constant rate. A free-falling object which is accelerating at a constant
rate will cover different distances in each consecutive second.

DESCRIBING MOTION WITH DIAGRAMS

Introduction to Diagrams

The world which you are studying is the physical world – a world which you can see. And
if you can see it, you certainly ought to be able to visualize it. And if you seek to
understand it, then that understanding ought to involve visual representations. So as you
proceed on your pursuit of physics knowledge, always be mindful of your ability (or lack of
ability) to visually represent the physical world. Monitor your study and learning habits.
Ask if your knowledge has become abstracted to a series of vocabulary words which have
(at least in your own mind) no relation to the physical world which it seeks to describe or if
your knowledge is intimately tied to that physical world as demonstrated by your visual
images.
Like the study of all of physics, the study of 1-dimensional kinematics will be concerned
with the multiple means by which the motion of objects can be represented. We will focus
now on the use of diagrams to describe motion. The two most common types of diagrams
used to describe the motion of objects are:
• ticker tape diagrams
• vector diagrams

Ticker Tape Diagrams

A common way of analyzing the motion of objects in physics labs is to perform a ticker
tape analysis. A long tape is attached to a moving object and threaded through a device that
places a tick upon the tape at regular intervals of time – say every 0.1 second. As the object
moves, it drags the tape through the "ticker," thus leaving a trail of dots. The trail of dots
provides a history of the object's motion and is therefore a representation of the object's
motion.
The distance between dots on a ticker tape represents the object's position change during
that time interval. A large distance between dots indicates that the object was moving fast
during that time interval. A small distance between dots means the object was moving
slowly during that time interval. Ticker tapes for a fast-moving and a slow-moving object
are depicted below.
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The analysis of a ticker tape diagram will also reveal if the object is moving with a constant
velocity or with a changing velocity (accelerating). A changing distance between dots
indicates a changing velocity and thus acceleration. A constant distance between dots
represents a constant velocity and therefore no acceleration. Ticker tapes for objects
moving with a constant velocity and an accelerated motion are shown below.

Ticker tape diagrams are sometimes referred to as oil


drop diagrams. Imagine a car with a leaky engine that
drips oil at a regular rate. As the car travels through town,
it would leave a trace of oil on the street. That trace
would reveal information about the motion of the car.

Vector Diagrams

Vector diagrams are diagrams which use vector


arrows to depict the direction and relative
magnitude of a vector quantity. Vector diagrams
can be used to describe the velocity of a moving object during its motion. For example, the
velocity of a car moving down the road could be represented by a vector diagram. In a
vector diagram, the magnitude of the vector is represented by the size of the vector arrow.
If the size of the arrow in each consecutive frame of the vector diagram is the same, then
the magnitude of that vector is constant.
The diagrams depict the velocity of a car during
its motion. In the top diagram, the size of the
velocity vector is constant, so the diagram is
depicting a motion of constant velocity. This is
not the case for the second one

DESCRIBING MOTION WITH GRAPHS

The Meaning of Shape for a p-t Graph

The specific features of the motion of objects are demonstrated by the shape and the slope
of the lines on a position vs. time graph. To begin, consider a car moving with a constant,
rightward (+) velocity of 10 m/s.

If the position-time data for such a car were graphed, the resulting
graph would look like the graph at the right. Note that a motion with
constant, positive velocity results in a line of constant and positive
(climbing up) slope when plotted as a position-time graph.
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The slope for a p–t graph

In position vs. time graphs for this basic type of motion – constant velocity motion - the
slope of the line reveals useful information about the velocity of the object. It's often said,
"As the slope goes, so goes the velocity."
Whatever characteristics the velocity has, the slope will exhibit the same (and vice versa).
If the velocity is constant, then the slope is constant (i.e., a straight line). If the velocity is
positive, then the slope is positive (i.e., moving upwards and to the right). A small slope
means a small velocity too. This can be extended to any motion conceivable.
Thus the shape of the line on the graph is descriptive of the object's motion. Now we will
examine how the actual value of the slope of any straight line on a position-time graph
corresponds to the velocity of the object.

Consider a car moving with a constant velocity of +10 m/s for 5 seconds. The diagram
below depicts such a motion.

The position-time graph would look like the graph at the


right. Note that during the first 5 seconds, the line on the
graph goes up 10 meters along the vertical (position) axis
for every 1 second along the horizontal (time) axis. That
is, the line on the position-time graph has a slope of +10 meters/1 second. So in this case
the slope of the line (10 m/s) is the same as the velocity of the car.
Now consider a car moving with a constant velocity of +5 m/s for 5 seconds, stopping
abruptly, and then remaining at rest (v = 0 m/s) for 5 seconds.

If the position-time data for such a car were graphed, the resulting graph would look like
the graph at the right. Note that for the first five seconds, the line
on the graph goes up 5 meters along the vertical (position) axis
for every 1 second along the horizontal (time) axis. That is, the
line on the position vs. time graph has a slope of +5 meters/1
second for the first five seconds. Thus, the slope of the line (5
m/s) on the graph equals the velocity of the car. Note also that
during the last 5 seconds (5 to 10 seconds), the line goes up 0
meters. That is, the slope of the line is 0 m/s — the same as the
velocity during this time interval.
This shows that the slope of the line on a position-time graph is equal to the velocity of
the object. If the object is moving with a velocity of +4 m/s, then the slope of the line will
be +4 m/s. If the object is moving with a velocity of -8 m/s, then the slope of the line will
be -8 m/s. If the object has a velocity of 0 m/s, then the slope of the line will be 0 m/s.

Slope (velocity) = tg α being α the angle formed between the x axis and the plot.
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The Meaning of Shape for a v-t Graph

The specific features of the motion of objects are demonstrated by the shape and the slope
of the lines on a velocity vs. time graph. Consider a car moving with a constant, rightward
(+) velocity of +10 m/s. It is moving with zero acceleration.

If the velocity-time data for such a car were graphed, the


resulting graph would look like the graph at the right. Note
that a motion with constant, positive velocity results in a
line of zero slope (a horizontal line has zero slope) when
plotted as a velocity-time graph

Positive Velocity or Negative Velocity?

Since the graph is a velocity-time graph, the velocity is positive whenever the line lies in
the positive region (positive y-values, i.e. above the x-axis) of the graph. Similarly, the
velocity is negative whenever the line lies in the negative region (negative y-values, i.e.
below the x-axis) of the graph. As you learned, a positive velocity means the object is
moving in the positive direction; and a negative velocity means the object is moving in the
negative direction. So if an object is moving in the positive direction, the line is located in
the positive region of the velocity-time graph (regardless if it is sloping up or sloping
down). Likewise, an object is moving in the negative direction if the line is located in the
negative region of the velocity-time graph

The Meaning of Slope for a v-t Graph

The shapes of the velocity vs. time graphs for constant velocity motion show that the slope
of the line on a velocity-time graph reveals useful information about the acceleration of the
object. In uniform (rectilinear) motion the acceleration is zero, so the slope is zero (i.e., a
horizontal line).

The Meaning of the Area on a v-t Graph

A plot of velocity vs. time can be used to determine the acceleration of an object (slope =
acceleration). I addition, a plot of velocity vs. time can also be used to determine the
distance travelled by an object.
For velocity vs. time graphs, the area bounded by the line and the axes represents the
distance travelled.
The diagram below shows a velocity-time graph; the shaded region between the line and
the axes represent the distance travelled during the stated time interval.
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The shaded area is representative of the distance travelled by the object


during the time interval from 0 seconds to 6 seconds. This representation
of the distance travelled takes on the shape of a rectangle whose area can
be calculated using the appropriate equation.

DESCRIBING MOTION WITH EQUATIONS

The Kinematic Equation for Rectilinear Uniform Motion

We will investigate the use of equations to describe and represent the motion of objects.
Such equations are known as kinematic equations.
There are a three quantities associated with the R U M motion of objects – displacement or
distance (in this case they coincide), velocity or speed (also coincident) and time.
Knowledge of each of these quantities provides descriptive information about an object's
motion. For example, if a car is known to move with a constant velocity of 22.0 m/s, North
for 12.0 seconds for a northward displacement of 264 meters, then the motion of that car is
fully described. The figures provide a complete description of the motion of the object.
However, such completeness is not always known. It is often the case that only a few
parameters of an object's motion are known. In an instance such as this, the unknown
parameters must be determined using physics principles and mathematical equations – the
kinematic equations.

Using the Kinematic Equations

The kinematic equation can be used to determine unknown information about an object's
motion if other details are known. The equation can be used for any constant velocity
motion (uniform motion):

d=v.t

The symbols used in the above equations have a specific meaning.

d – the displacement of the object.


t – the time for which the object moved.
v – the velocity of the object.

It should be remembered that displacement is the change in position. In case the location at
a given instant (xt) of the object is asked it can be found provided you have location at t = 0.

xt = x0 + d = x0 + v . t
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GENERAL PROBLEMS ABOUT MOVEMENT

1- Draw the path for the following moving objects:


a- A boy sliding down a mountain as seen from a rock.
b- A car travelling along a turn in a highway as seen from a plane.
c- The same car as seen from inside the car.
d- A girl on a merry-go-round as seen from the floor.
e- A car going eastwards from another one moving northwards.

2- Draw a position against time graph for an object moving on a horizontal straight
line according to the data on the table.

Position 3 5 7 7 7 8 6 5 6 9
(cm)
Time (s) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Answer the following questions:


a- What was the position at time 0 s?
b- When was the object at rest?
c- Did it move back and forth?
d- Did it move up and down?
e- Which was its average speed between the third and the seventh second?
f- Which was its average speed during the time intervals (2 – 5), (3 – 5), (4 – 6),
(4 – 7), (7 – 8) and (4 –8)?
g- which was its average velocity during the same time intervals?

The following are supposed to be thought and discussed. Results can be rather queer

3- You can see the Moon rising and setting every night. How would an astronaut see
the Earth moving during one night? Remember we always see the same side of the
Moon without any change.

4- During (roughly) a month the Moon gives a complete turn around the Earth.
Discuss how this movement is seen from the Moon. Remember that we always see
the same side of the Moon without any change.
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PROBLEMS ON URM

5- Draw the path for the following moving objects:


a- A boy sliding down a mountain as seen from a rock.
b- A car travelling along a turn in a highway as seen from a plane.
c- The same car as seen from inside the car.
d- A girl on a merry-go-round as seen from the floor.
e- A car going eastwards from another one moving northwards.
f- You can see the Moon rising and setting every night. How would an
astronaut in the Moon see the Earth moving during one night? Remember
we always see the same side of the Moon without any change.
g- During (roughly) a month the Moon gives a complete turn around the Earth.
How is this movement seen from the Moon? Remember that we always see
the same side of the Moon without any change.

6- Draw a position against time graph for an object moving on a horizontal straight
line according to the data on the table.

Position 3 5 7 7 7 8 6 5 6 9
(cm)
Time (s) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Answer the following questions:


h- What was the position at time 0 s?
i- When was the object at rest?
j- Did it move back and forth?
k- Did it move up and down?
l- Which was its average speed between the third and the seventh second?
m- Which was its average speed during the time intervals (2 – 5), (3 – 5), (4 – 6),
(4 – 7), (7 – 8) and (4 –8)?
n- which was its average velocity during the same time intervals?

7- The displacement-time graph of a body is as shown:

i. Calculate the velocity over the first 5-second period.


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ii. Calculate the velocity from 5s to 8s.


iii. Calculate the velocity for the last two seconds.
iv. What is the total displacement covered?
v. What is the average velocity over the entire 10-second stretch?
[ 1.6 ms-1; 0; 6 ms-1; 20 m; 2 ms-1 ]

8- A balloon is ascending with a uniform vertical velocity of 10 ms-1.

Which of the forces F1, F2, F3 or F4 is the strongest? Give a reason for your
choice.

9- The two-block system in the diagram is acted by the weight of the hanging 2 kg
mass, the friction force Ff, the weight of mass M and the contact (normal) force F n.
If the system moves at a constant velocity of 10 cm / s find the four forces.

Fn
Ff
M= 3 kg
pulley
WM

m =2 kg

Wm

PROBLEMS WITH TWO MOVING OBJECTS

10- A train leaves from town A to town B at midnight. It travels at v = 80 km / hr


(constant). Two hours later a train leaves from town B to town A travelling at 90 km
/ hr. If the distance between both towns is 1200 km find when and where both trains
will meet.
11- Norman walks to school. His speed is 0,8 m /s. His sister Joan leaves 10 minutes
later, but she rides a bike at 4 m / s. They get to school at the same time. How far is
the school from their home?
12- A boat sails at 4 m / s due north across a river; at the same time the river drags him
eastwards at 3 m / s. Calculate the speed of the boat relative to the earth.
13- If the river is 200 m wide find the time it takes the boat to cross the river and the
eastward drift of the boat.